Waiting for wasps: Consequences for the pollination dynamics of Ficus pertusa L.

M. C. Anstett, F. Kjellberg, Judith L Bronstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pollination of fig trees depends on mutualist wasps that reproduce within their flowers. Until recently, it was assumed that there was a short window of time during which a fig crop could be pollinated. Hence, pollination of figs was thought to depend on extreme efficiency of the wasps in locating receptive trees. In that context, extensive data on the Costa Rican fig tree Ficus pertusa L. have been very difficult to understand. In F. pertusa, figs of different crops attract wasps at different stages of their development. The crops that attract wasps the earliest in their development are the most heavily visited ones, but mature the fewest pollinator offspring and seeds on a per-fig basis. Using simulation models of pollinator population dynamics and field data, we show that (i) attractiveness of a crop is prolonged, (ii) wasps prefer large figs when given a choice, and (iii) the observed pattern of preferential early visitation of crops can be explained by temporal variations in pollinator abundance. This emphasizes the importance of population-level mechanisms to explain the fig/fig wasp mutualism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-466
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume23
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

Fingerprint

figs
wasp
pollination
demographic situation
crop
social attraction
pollinator
population development
simulation model
pollinators
crops
efficiency
mutualism
Agaonidae
Ficus pertusa
flower
population dynamics
temporal variation
seed
early development

Keywords

  • Fig
  • mutualism
  • pollination
  • population dynamics
  • receptivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Waiting for wasps : Consequences for the pollination dynamics of Ficus pertusa L. / Anstett, M. C.; Kjellberg, F.; Bronstein, Judith L.

In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1996, p. 459-466.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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